The end of the season is nigh

February 19th, 2007

In the fortnight since I last wrote there’s been a definite end-of-term feeling on base. People have completed their field projects and come back to base – some have gone back to the UK already – and the returning Field GAs have evicted the tumbleweed that was blowing down the corridors of the Sledge Store. Our two Royal Navy “air support assistants” have also left – so there’s just three of us now to handle the rapidly diminishing radio work.

elephant seal

This Elephant seal took to living outside Bransfield house for about a week!

Late last night we closed Sky Blu, leaving Fossil Bluff as the only depot open – it’ll close in about ten days’ time.
I’ve taken advantage of a slightly lighter workload to go out on a couple of weekend jollies (I’ve not had much time off at weekends this season so far) – heading out on an afternoon boat trip to Lagoon Island and also reviving my somewhat rusty skiing technique at Vals.
speeding to Lagoon
Speeding to Lagoon

skidoos at Vals

Skidoos at Vals – needed to pull you up the slope

the slope at Vals

The slope itself

In exactly a month from now a ship will be here to take me home. My arrangements have changed somewhat from what I’ve been planning for most of the winter – the RRS Ernest Shackleton will sail from Rothera on the 20th March and arrive in Stanley (in the Falklands) on the 25th or 26th. I’ll be spending two weeks in the Falklands – the first on the main island and the second on the much smaller outlying Saunders Island – before flying to Punta Arenas on Easter Saturday, 7th April. From Punta I’ll make my way north through Chile and Argentina before meeting up with the RRS James Clark Ross in Montevideo on the 8th May. Four of us from Rothera are sailing back to the UK from Monte – we should dock at an as-yet-undecided UK port on the 31st May.

8 Responses to “The end of the season is nigh”

  1. susannah Says:

    Any idea what you’ll be doing when you return?

  2. Paul Says:

    Gonna take a bit longer to get back then to get there! Did you have a choice of flying?

  3. Michael P-J Says:

    Susannah: yes – but I can’t talk about it in public yet…

    Paul: yes I did, but I thought I’d like to take the slow boat this time. This year will be the last year that wintering staff are allowed to sail home, so I thought I’d take the opportunity while it lasts.

  4. susannah Says:


  5. Cy Says:

    Punta Arenas on the Magellan Strait? Does that mean your not coming back via the Cabo de Hornos?

  6. Michael P-J Says:

    Cy: the Ernest Shackleton will cross the Drake Passage to the Falklands, so we’ll get the full Southern Ocean experience! From Punta Arenas (which is the only place in South America with flights to the Falklands) there’s the option of taking the ferry or a flight across the Magellan Strait to explore Tierra del Fuego – but getting to Cabo de Hornos itself is very tricky. The nearest accessible places to it are Ushuaia (in Argentine TdF) or Puerto Williams (on Isla Navarino) – both of which face each other across the Beagle Channel. I quite like the idea of going to Pto Williams, although I may not have the time…

  7. Cy Says:

    If you do get round, ensure you contact the Chilean Navy via VHF, they’ll send you a nice Certificate.

  8. Cy Says:

    PS Leaving from the River Plate means you’ll be crossing the line. So can we expect to see you with half your hair shaved, covered in soup and trying to remember the words to the song “From Ushant to Scilly…” for King Neptune’s court?

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